Superman #181 (November, 1965)

The story featured on the cover of the second issue of Superman I bought (but the oldest one I still own) was actually the second, back-up story in the issue.  The lead story was a forgettable tale about a new “girl reporter” at the Daily Planet who begins scooping Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and even Clark Kent himself with what appear to be super powers — unfortunately, a fairly typical example of just how dull the most powerful superhero in comics could sometimes be under the editorial aegis of Mort Weisinger, probably the main reason why there are fewer 1960s issues of Superman and Action comics in my collection than you might imagine.

The real draw of the issue, justifiably granted the cover spot, was “The Superman of 2965!” — a tale that introduced a distant descendant of our own Man of Steel, who, despite the many intervening generations of interbreeding with ordinary (one assumes) Earthlings, still has all of his original namesake’s Kryptonian potency.  The cover copy assures us readers that we won’t believe our eyes, because this future version is “so different from the original Superman of Krypton!”  How different is he?  Read More

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Flash #156 (November, 1965)

My very first issue of The Flash sported a very dramatic cover, featuring a “Wanted” poster bearing the faces of both the Scarlet Speedster and his secret identity, police scientist Barry Allen.  When I first picked the book out of the spinner rack, however, I didn’t get the idea at all.

I’d already encountered the Flash in Justice League of America #40 (at least I think I had — it and Flash #156 have the same cover date, and the Grand Comics Database doesn’t provide actual dates of publication for either, unfortunately).  He never appeared as Barry Allen in that issue, however, and I had no idea what the word “alias” meant.  So, I thought the two guys on the poster were two different people.  But whoever this “Barry Allen” might be, he was obviously in big trouble with the pretty young woman clutching a tear-soaked handkerchief, just as the Flash had self-evidently earned the ire of his (previously unknown to me) teenage sidekick, Kid Flash.

Of course, I didn’t get very far into the issue before my misapprehension was corrected.  Read More

Justice League of America #40 (November, 1965)

Today’s 50 year old comic book ranks as one of the most personally significant that I ever bought, for several reasons.

The first, and most obvious, is that it introduced me to a number of superheroes I hadn’t encountered before.  I had known about Superman (and maybe Batman) before I bought my first comic, of course, and in my first month of comics buying I had picked up books featuring those two heroes (and possibly one starring Green Lantern), but this book was packed with colorful, memorable new characters.  The FlashThe AtomHawkmanAquamanGreen ArrowJ’onn J’onzz, the Martian ManhunterWonder Woman! (Waitaminnit — who let a girl in the clubhouse?)  And not just heroes, but villains as well, with cameo appearances by the Penguin, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, and — the Shark!  (OK, maybe not all the characters were A-listers.)

But just as important, if not more so, was the impact that the story had on the development of my personal moral philosophy.  Seriously.  Read More